New and improved

typewriter

LOTS OF related websites are connected here. There are links in the right-side column. History has shown me that few folks pay them any mind in spite of their often being more fascinating than what you see here in the middle space.

I’ve not been happy with one of those related pages for quite some time. Newspaper Days. Recently, a nice woman clicked “like” on it, and that brought the page to my attention.

Still didn’t like it, so I zapped it.

In its place is a new and improved version of my Newspaper Days. More info, more photos, better written. Think of it as a Prius instead of a Ford Fairlane.

For folks who’ve been passing by the Moon for more than a short spell, you already know that I am a retired newspaperman. Not a journalist, a newspaperman. Having never taken a journalism course in my life, how could I be a journalist? I did work for newspapers for 30 years, however. Newspaperman.

I never had delusions of grandeur.

When I got into that now-discredited occupation, having studied journalism frequently was not a requirement. Being fairly sober and being able to stand up straight and construct a reasonably coherent sentence often was enough.

And being male. Getting hired in newsrooms if you weren’t a guy was pretty much impossible with one exception: society pages. Lots of ladies in the Society Department.

It’s called Lifestyle now. Or simply Style.

In Newspaper Days, I follow my checkered career from New Orleans to San Juan, back to New Orleans and then to Houston, Texas, where I spent the entire second half of my newspapering life. It was a good gig, so I stayed 15 years.

The best was San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was the briefest even though I worked there on two separate occasions in the early to mid-1970s for a bit under two years total.

This is a photo of where I lived the second stay:

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My penthouse was just off to the left, one or two buildings. Sweet, huh?

You can see the news business was good to me. The pay was okay too. I did not get rich, but I did retire debt-free to Mexico when I was just 55 years old. Wife-free too.

Take a look at the longer version, which gets into booze, suicides, mangy bars, mangy dogs, Cuban coffee, the effects of political correctness, the effects of Watergate. And there are my mugshots on all my press passes save one. Cute!

21 thoughts on “New and improved”

  1. Felipe: I wish you’d stop bragging about not being a “journalist” because you didn’t have a degree. Most journalists don’t have a degree in journalism. Degree or not, you must have been damn good to work at the Houston paper, even occasionally impaired.

    Fake humility!

    al

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    1. Señor Lanier: Now I know you refer to yourself as a journalist, and feel free to do so. But I really do not. It’s not fake humility. Never, from the first day in 1969 when I walked into the States-Item newsroom, praying to high heaven that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself, have I for one nanosecond thought of myself as a “journalist.” I’m just not a high-falootin’ guy.

      As for being “damn good,” well, yes, it turned out that I was. Lord knows what would have happened with my “career” if I had possessed one iota of ambition, which I never did. But it all ended well.

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    2. Señor Lanier PS: I will confess, however, that I do inwardly snicker at people who refer to themselves as “journalists.” Do forgive. The snickering grows louder if the person is a TV personality.

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        1. Like calling yourself a dentist, a podiatrist or an editor? Journalism is a profession like any other and there’s nothing presumptuous about it. Geezus. I guess political correctness has infected the whole world.

          Al Lanier
          A former reporter, editor, writer or journalist.

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          1. Actually, Al, truth is that I can see your point, which is valid. My gut, however, agrees with Ms. Shoes, which is why I have never referred to or even thought of myself as a journalist.

            But I am surely an intellectual! You betcha.

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            1. Ms. Shoes: Well, that’s a good point. When I was a reporter, which was briefly, I called myself a reporter. For all the years I was an editor, I called myself an editor. Now I call myself an ex-newspaperman. I still call myself an editor because I still do that. Just don’t get paid.

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            2. However, Ms. Shoes, in the advanced clarity of this new day, I must point out that your definition of profession is a very narrow one. My Online Collins Dictionary begs to differ. A bar exam, as you took, or something similar, a licensing, is hardly what separates “professionals” from us lesser mortals. While your lawyering is indeed a profession, there are other professions that do not require a specific entry exam. Journalism is one. The dictionary says a profession is any work that requires advanced education or training. Journalism qualifies. A professional chemist takes no licensing exam. There are other fields too, professions all, that require no licensing exam. Hell’s Bells, I’ve read that in some parts of the increasingly loony United States, one must pass a government exam now to be a beautician, er, a professional beautician.

              While I did not get the advanced formal education, I darn sure got plenty of advanced training, OJT. So I could call myself a journalist, but I do not because I have the same reaction to the word that you do. It’s a gut thing. It just sounds la-dee-dah to me. And, clearly, to you too.

              I’ve never thought of myself nor called myself a journalist. Never will.

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  2. Well hell, I don’t want to break-up this highly-informative and scholarly debate on what constitutes a “journalist,” but I rather enjoyed this piece and the link to the history of your work experiences.

    We come from different backgrounds, and I suspect that we are a little envious of parts of each other’s stories. I know I am.

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    1. Ray: Not much for envy myself, but I admire your style of writing and the fact that you get to walk in the woods, which I rarely do anymore. I envy your Jeep and your motorcycle. I envy that you speak a language every day in which you can express subtleties. My Spanish lacks subtleties and always will. I don’t envy your dog but I imagine he’s a good dog. I do envy your family ties very, very much. I envy that you have grandchildren and kids that care about you. I envy your youth, something that has slipped past me.

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  3. People who have lived as many years as you while you walked a non-linear line to the happy place where you are can call themselves anything they like.

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  4. I like Ray too. I think he’s a man you could sit on a back porch, sip a beverage with and have a damn good conversation. A question, does youth slip by us? Or do we see the same things as younger folk do, but just take a bit more time thinking about the process of what’s there?
    I go slower now, not much concerned about the speed of getting to a destination, but take enjoyment of the process of getting to a destination. I see things better now and maybe different in some ways. The last ride down to Mexico was the best ever, nothing like sitting on a mountaintop in Utah, on the side of the road, and watching the sun come up, alone, just breathing the fresh cool air.

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    1. Bob: Youth does slip by if you don’t pay attention. And sometimes it can roar by, I guess. As for our seeing things better, we do have better perspective, I believe. Ray, of course, is just a whippersnapper compared to you and me. He’s not much older than my daughter, but I don’t hold his youth against him. As I said, I envy it.

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